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Sterling nonprofit found to be paying workers incorrectly owes nearly $574,000 in back pay

Self Help Enterprises hires people with disabilities, and under a Section 14(c) certificate, they were allowed to pay based on productivity. The U.S. Departmen...

STERLING, Illinois -- A nonprofit organization that employs people with developmental disabilities will have to pay nearly $574,000 in back wages to employees after being accused of exploiting workers.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced that 215 current and former workers will be getting part of this money.  The pay is part of a settlement that was agreed upon after the organization was found in violation of their Section 14(c) certificate. The certificate allowed the organization to pay workers less than minimum wage, and instead pay them based on productivity.

Self Help was found in violation of their Section 14(c) certificate back in April of 2018.  Because of the violation, the organization lost their certificate, forcing them to pay their workers at least minimum wage and pay two years worth of back wages.

Self Help Enterprises’ pay practices denied employees with disabilities the wages they rightfully earned,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “As a result of the investigation and actions in this case, this employer has agreed to correct all violation issues and to pay these workers the back wages they deserve.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division, the organization's application to renew it's Section 14(c) certificate has been denied.

Going forward, Self Help will have to have an outside consultant to ensure they're in compliance with regulations, according to the Wage and Hour Division.  The staff will also be trained on what is required for a Section 14(c) certificate.